Within one organization, you may find multiple segmented audiences, including a spectrum of professionals who have different motives for research. Some may want to extract high-level key performance indicators (KPI) for a company-wide PowerPoint presentation; others may want to know how their compensation ranks against peers across the nation in preparation for an annual review, and some may need a deep dive on historical time frames to assess particular sales trends within the slow season of their organization.
Moreover, Research and Development (R &D) staff are tasked with a dual purpose to fulfill, which is to provide research programs or products that will keep their organizations competitive and to make sure those programs and products align with the needs of their diverse memberships. For R&D staff, living up to that dual purpose, all while deciding on sound reporting mediums that promote data literacy, can become a juggling act.
Provide real-time actionable results that are easy to understand and communicate to others.
Today, making data available is simply not enough. People need to understand it, evaluate metrics against multiple KPIs, and—most importantly—they need to make sound decisions based on it. When considering data visualization for your next research project output, an important concept to grasp is ‘data literacy.’ This concept could be interpreted in many ways, but ultimately, it factors down to how well a person can interpret and communicate data.
There are barriers to grasping data that can be alleviated by a different approach to research output: visualization.
By trying a visual approach to research output, associations may see an increase in members’ data literacy, which entails the ability to analyze and use research to make decisions. Lauren Cox, a research analyst at Vault Consulting, says organizations should look out for these three telltale signs that may imply R&D staff are ready to consider adopting a visual approach to research reporting:
Stale & Stagnant
“The format of data output has not changed in the past five years and there have been no new features.”
Receiving the same report year-after-year, with little-to-no new insights can be frustrating for members. It can be especially frustrating when members need to flip or click back and forth through multiple pages to find correlations between two or more data points. Rich charting or interactive reporting can be customized and minimizes manual time dedicated to synthesizing data.
For example, if a professional asking for a raise has been doing tasks in his or her job description along with managing several other duties, they may turn to compensation benchmarking data of their role and of the other functional areas for which they have taken. With an interactive report, a user can easily see those data points side-by-side to determine a reasonable ask to their employers.
Look & Feel
“Members and participants complain that the data is hard to grasp or difficult to digest.”
There are multiple ways of communicating the same information. While executive summaries are helpful and give organizational leaders the benefit of a high-level view of what the data is indicating, not everyone is satisfied with a conclusive written analysis supplemented with pages and pages of tables that may—to some—just look like arbitrary numbers in columns and rows. Instead, visual and kinesthetic learners may be more prone to interpret bar graphs to show a comparison between items, line graphs to represent growth, or pie charts to show the magnitude of each piece within a whole. With interactive reporting and rich charting functionality, there is something for everyone.
For example, if an executive is making a company-wide presentation, he or she can extract aesthetically pleasing charts and graphs that can offer versatile perspectives of information with varying formats to present it.
Reactive Vs. Proactive
“Members and organizational leaders are unable to manipulate numbers easily and there are no new insights.”
While some organizations have the resources to staff highly skilled statisticians with the aptitude for predictive foresight, some organizations may benefit from interactive reporting to help all staff keep an eye on the future. With the ability to draw up projected trends based on current and past results, organizations can remain abreast of changes within their industry. Instead of waiting on an annual report, organizations can stay in-the-know in real-time. Investing in an advanced interactive reporting tool gives organizations a platform to be proactive rather than a stage to be reactive to potentially outdated and irrelevant information.
For example, if a marketing director at a manufacturing organization or consumer products company needs to evaluate sales for a particular product during the slow season for the past few years in order to make a better determination on where future marketing efforts should be focused on for that particular time of year, he or she can easily turn to those specific performance windows prior to adjusting quarterly or semi-annual strategic sales goals.
Explore the Many Benefits of Visual Data
“We work super closely with clients to help design visualizations by identifying the most valuable information they need to see, how they want to interpret the data, and their clients’ needs or preferences.”
Vault offers multiple data output platform options including interactive dashboards and excel-based charts and graphs. Our consultants will work side-by-side with you to determine the best solution for your audiences.
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